BYOG

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It’s never too late to enjoy the gift of life.

One year ago, I promised to launch the Church of the Good on December 12, 2012.  Since then, I have been ordained a minister and recognized as a Doctor of Divinity by the Universal Life Church.

Today, the journey begins.  The Church of the Good is a non-denominational organization created to simply promote the joy of life.

Over the past several thousand years, a variety of gods have been recognized and worshiped.  They have served as a cynosure for societies and cultures throughout the history of man, while their requisite religious organizations provided a sense of community, morality, and a foundation of ethical behavior.  Unfortunately, some of these various gods have also been called on to justify unspeakable crimes, torture, murder, genocide, financial schemes, and political agendas.  The Church of the Good has no such agenda.

The Church of the Good welcomes you to join us in celebrating the gift of life, and we welcome you to bring your own personal god along with you.  It’s our BYOG program that sets us apart from most religious organizations.  As long as you recognize your god as the giver of life, then both of you will find a welcome home for your beliefs.

We are given this amazing gift of life. It is an opportunity to live.  Every day we decide on what we will make of our lives.  While many of us are compromised by our lot in life, none of us are prevented from being free and alive spiritually.  But, at the Church of the Good, we believe that being alive spiritually is only a small part of the life experience that is our responsibility.  Members of the Church of the Good are builders.  We do not criticize and destroy, rather we imagine and create.  While it is certainly easier to find fault, the Church of the Good seeks only to find good [and then build on that good].

For the chosen members of the Church of the Good, we believe that god recognizes that we appreciate the time he has spent on us.  We also believe that as your god, he appreciates the unique understanding you have of his/her role in your life.  The Church of the Good, therefore, provides a more intimate connection to god – your god.  We call our connection 5 Bars To God.  Think of it as a cloud connection to god.  You can access your god with a better connection at any time, any place.

So, join the Church of the Good, and join us in the enjoyment of life.  Cast out the resident evil in your life and build on the good.

Membership applications will be accepted starting on January 1, 2013.

Sincerely,
Reverend Anthony
Founder, Church of the Good

ChurchoftheGood.wordpress.com

Reply ↓
Chris Boebel on December 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM said:

… And by all that, I’m wondering if such a belief structure falls under your church’s definition of god.

Reply ↓
Reverend Anthony on December 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM said:

The Church of the Good has no desire to define your god, however, because there are such a variety of gods, we do endeavor to simply limit it to those gods that are – to each individual – the giver of life.

You are an extremely bright, alert, and curious guy. I have always enjoyed your perspective and the occasional discourse that is inevitably, for us, a parallax. By your nature, you are a fault finder, the exposer of the spurious argument. In this case, rather than find fault, why not revel in who your god is? It would make for a much better day, and it would certainly be more enjoyable for all of us.

I look forward to your next comment in the hope that it will be a building block for the enjoyment of life. A glimpse of Chris Boebel’s god would certainly be for the edification of all.

Reply ↓
Chris Boebel on December 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM said:

And this is one reason I was sad to part ways with you in ’99.

My intent in posting my comment was not to argue about the nature of the unknowable, but to understand more fully what you meant by BYOG. I wholeheartedly agree that if everyone sets aside arguments over differences, you are left with the opportunity to agree on a wide variety of things and that, in turn, would lead to ‘good’.

However, I do also think that while cultural relativism (a superset of BYOG?) is a nice concept in theory, in practice it can lead to trouble. Perhaps I’ve read too much Rand, but think there can be a moral absolute that would stand against things that relativists would allow.. honor killing, for example.

I look forward to learning more about this new thing you’re going to build, and the philosophy that eventually supports and surrounds it.

Reply ↓
Chris Boebel on December 13, 2012 at 3:41 am

Interesting.

What if your god, such as it is, is less a ‘traditional’ god, and more an idea? What if, for example, you find god in the laws of physics, recognizing that without several fundamental constants being within certain very small tolerances, life as we know it would not exist? In this, the very fact that we exist at all is not due to an omnipotent being, but to chance?

I tend to believe that that doesn’t lessen the message or the meaning. Indeed, it might make life all the more precious exactly because we might not have been an act of creation, but of something even more profound.

Looking forward to updates on this new development!

Reply ↓
Reverend Anthony on December 14, 2012 at 7:51 AM said:

Chris,

You are dragging me into deeper waters than I had intended, but I appreciate the conversation.

For starters, it’s safe to say that any Rand is too much Rand. Nevertheless …

BYOG does not deny an absolute truth. The premise is that god is the giver of life. From there, cultural relativism is appropriate.

As a theist, I hesitate to quote an agnostic such as Protagoras, but my moral relativism begins with his famous pronunciation that “Man is the measure of all things…” And while I take exception to the Jainist’s denial of a supreme being, I find favor in their suggestion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth [I’ll spare you Buddha’s parable of the 6 Blind men and the Elephant]. If I keep pulling on this thread, however, I am going to head into Spinoza, and then I would have to pass the debate on to my daughter Ariana.

As for the value [or hinderance] of cultural relativism, I am going to do a little cut and past for the novitiate:

People generally understand moral relativism to mean that there are no absolute or universal moral standards. In 1944, Clyde Kluckhohn attempted to address this issue:

“The concept of culture, like any other piece of knowledge, can be abused and misinterpreted. Some fear that the principle of cultural relativity will weaken morality. “If the Bugabuga do it why can’t we? It’s all relative anyway.” But this is exactly what cultural relativity does not mean.

The principle of cultural relativity does not mean that because the members of some savage tribe are allowed to behave in a certain way that this fact gives intellectual warrant for such behavior in all groups. Cultural relativity means, on the contrary, that the appropriateness of any positive or negative custom must be evaluated with regard to how this habit fits with other group habits. Having several wives makes economic sense among herders, not among hunters. While breeding a healthy skepticism as to the eternity of any value prized by a particular people, anthropology does not as a matter of theory deny the existence of moral absolutes. Rather, the use of the comparative method provides a scientific means of discovering such absolutes. If all surviving societies have found it necessary to impose some of the same restrictions upon the behavior of their members, this makes a strong argument that these aspects of the moral code are indispensable.”

So, a tip of the hat to you for your cultural relativism connection, but I’m still waiting for your god to show up.

Reply ↓
Someone who worked for you on December 15, 2012 at 10:49 PM said:

This is coming from a guy that uses the word ‘faggot’ in meetings with a homosexual employee, has told other employees to ‘eat a bullet’ , etc. etc. You know nothing about joy.

Reply ↓
Reverend Anthony on December 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM said:

Of all the things I have said and done, there certainly includes a long list of shame and regret. However, hiding in the shadows simply does not find a spot on that list. And of all my sins, prejudice is just not part of the lineup [unless, of course, you count the Irish]. Any “homosexual” who has ever worked with me has never ever felt any prejudice or embarrassment that I know of [but that’s not to say that along the way I haven’t offended nearly everyone who has ever known me].

I build with builders, what they are sexually oriented to is their private business. If you think my joy of life is going to ever be confined to some politically correct agenda, you’ve got the wrong guy.

If you’re looking for someone who doesn’t swear or try to get a reaction in a business meeting, then I’m clearly not the man for you. I am what I am, and if you think that means catering to your shadow insults, then you really can go fuck yourself. How’s that for your timid ears? Asshole.

It is always easy to condem or find fault, and while recognition for improvement is at the core of our development, your remarks are not intended for any purpose other than to deny and besmirch a sincere attempt to do good. Why not come out of the shadows with your god and your good? We could all certainly use it.

Reply ↓
Reverend Anthony on December 17, 2012 at 7:42 PM said:

I received a very heartfelt comment today from a long time friend of mine who cautioned me about such an aggressive and blunt response in such a public forum. His advice, which was accepted in the sincere manner in which it was proffered, is prudent to say the least. In a very public organization that endeavors to promote the good, there is little room for anger. I have asked his permission to post his comments. If he agrees, I will post them forthwith.

Nevertheless, we live in a blunt world. Too often voices from the shadow silence the good. I am who I am, and, yes, I am at times blunt and coarse. I find no reason to yield to decorum.

As Fr. Sturm once said to me, “There are good people who do bad things, and bad people who do good things.” When I asked him where he put me, he just smiled. As he knew then, as I know now – I fit in both.

If the voice of the good can only come from good people, we are indeed in big trouble. The silence will be deafening. We are all many things. To obviate our bad is just as troubling as to ignore our good. I recognize my bad, but it has never prevented me from recognizing the gift of life and the joy it can bring.

Although the Church of the Good started as a lark, it does provide an opportunity to send out a simple message: It’s never too late to enjoy the gift of life.

Reply ↓
Reverend Anthony on December 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM said:

Greg gave his ok to post his recent message to me: “You can post it if you want, but I really didn’t like where that was going, and I didn’t want to see you dragged there.”

Greg and I grew up in the same neighborhood, and I knew his entire family well, especially his legendary grandfather. I coached him in Babe Ruth baseball, and we have had an enduring friendship for almost 50 years. For many years, Greg was the remarkably successful owner-operator of our affiliated stores in Rochester, The Stereo Shop. Today, Greg is happily married in Williamsville with a beautiful wife and great kids. He is a successful estate manager and an avid horse racing enthusiast.

Here is his thoughtful message:

Tony, been reading about Church of The Good, and I would first like to say that we could all use a little more good in a world filled with so much evil. I really have spent so much time over the years trying to do good, and I see so many ideas a Church of The Good could springboard.

At first, I wrote you that I was not sure about the church idea, and In my head I thought some things could really backfire. Everything becomes so much more public, and, with all religion, there will be different opinions, but if you really use it to do good, all should be good. However, as a long time friend, I would like to tell you that you can’t react with such negativity on such a public format. People are going to attack, and I really think your reaction has to stay positive.

You have done so much for me in life, and I always respect you and what you have built in business, but this is different. I would love to meet about this, but for now, as a long time friend, I would urge you to not react to people with negative or angry replies. Keep it good in the church of the good, and dont be dragged down by the negative.

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